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Vietnamese Teachers Told to Monitor Students via Facebook

In what is being seen as a bizarre move, Vietnamese teachers are being instructed to join Facebook and other social networks in order to ‘manage’ their students more effectively.

As in other countries, many teachers in Vietnam do not use Facebook or other social media, either through lack of interest or in order to protect their privacy. 

All this is set to change as teachers are being instructed to join Facebook and given responsibility of monitoring their students’ online activities in order to “help prevent negative problems.”

Tran Van Hong, Deputy Head of the Ngu Hanh Son district Education and Training Sub-department, told reporters, “A lot of students have been using social networks for the wrong purposes, therefore, it is necessary to manage them more strictly.”

Hong went on to say that although it is impossible to prohibit students from using social media, it is possible to equip teachers with the skills to monitor and guide their students on various social networks.

In early 2013, a local newspaper is reported to have exposed an illicit affair in Binh Phuoc province between a teacher and an underage student following an alleged post on Facebook by the teacher involved.

The post was later found to have been falsified having already done considerable damage to the reputations of the parties involved.  Following this, many teachers called for students to be prohibited from using social networks to “blacken somebody’s reputation”, a move impossible to reinforce.

Tran Tan, Headmaster of Tran Dai Nghia Secondary School, maintains that students need clear guidance on how to use Facebook responsibly, or else they lead to actions resulting in “unforeseen consequences”.

“Managing students via Facebook is the new pedagogical skill teachers must have,” he said.

Tan went on to say that with greater connectivity between students and teachers on Facebook, there will be increased opportunity to exchange ideas and more “favourable conditions for students to improve their knowledge.”

He has instructed his teachers to help students rectify their thoughts and correct spelling mistakes, “thus forcing students to use the standard Vietnamese language instead of the slang words now popular among the youth.”

Le Thi Kim Van, a teacher of the school, said managing students via Facebook has brought positive influences. “We can better understand each other, thus allowing us to fix problems quickly,” she said.

As the younger generations become more digitally competent, it will be interesting to see how the teachers of Vietnam are able to keep them on track.

[Vietnam Net]

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